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I AMsterdam

July 24th, 2010

The train ride from Brussels to Amsterdam was surprisingly fast. I settled into my plush, first class coach seat and thought I’d get some reading done, but before I knew it, we were pulling into the Amsterdam Centraal station! I gathered my luggage and walked outside to hail a cab. The cabbie took me to my flat for the week in the Museumplen district, a short 6km from the centre.

view up the Prinsen-Gract canal near the Anne Frankhuis

The first thing I noticed about Amsterdam was all the bikes! Even more bikes than in Paris! It seemed everyone got around by riding a bike, there were bikes chained up along the streets and canals, and bike riders cycling quickly along the streets. There are specified bike lanes for bikers, a sidewalk for pedestrians and of course the street for cars and the tram.

We arrived at my flat and I collected the keys from a friend of the owner, waiting outside the flat to receive me, and proceeded to get settled in to the flat. It’s a gorgeous open one-bedroom with lots of light and in a great neighborhood. I took a long walk around my new neighborhood that night and noticed that, despite the late hour (11pm), people were still out talking, drinking and laughing in the various neighborhood pubs.

Amsterdam’s main city centre is fairly small and easy to get around on bike. There are lots of canals running through the city and it almost feels like a mix between Venice and Paris, but definitely more like Paris, for sure.  I learned very quickly that the easiest way to get around was on bike, so I rented a bike for the week – fairly cheap too, only 5€ per day!

I love exploring Amsterdam – riding my bike along the canals past all the ‘Coffee shops’ (shops where you can sit and smoke a joint, buy pot and pot infused foods/products) and smelling the sweet smell of sensimilia wafting out of the shops. The Red Light District is interesting too, with the women standing half-nude in storefront windows while the public walk by, peering in, and occasionally entering to purchase her services for an hour.

The Dutch seem to be very laid back, tolerant folk. I really appreciate that about Amsterdam. The approach to life here seems to live, enjoy, and take it easy. But not too easy! Work still gets done!

I took the ferry across the canal and took a long bike ride through the Holland countryside… it was so cool seeing an old windmill, riding through the small, adorable and quaint villages… the countryside here is absolutely gorgeous.

I definitely love Amsterdam!

2 Responses to “I AMsterdam”

  1. Robert says:

    Amsterdam is CRAZY! Pedestrians have NO rights what-so-ever! You have to own a bike there or you’re a nobody! Hahahah!

  2. Ik hou van Amsterdam ook. (I love Amsterdam too)

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